Comparing climate policies for the 2015 election
For a party that have as one of their key policy points the abolishment of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, it was always unlikely that UKIP would have the environment and climate change high on the list of priorities. But you never know, given the overwhelming scientific evidence, they might have shifted. So does the UKIP manifesto answer key questions posed by CAT around climate issues?
1.Does your party’s climate policy accept the urgency of the evidence as defined by the recent 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report, and if implemented, how will it avoid the crucial 2°C average global temperature rise?
UKIP do have a climate policy, just not one that has any basis whatsoever in scientific evidence. They would repeal the Climate Change Act and abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Unsurprising considering that some members of the party still think that climate change is not caused by human activity.
UKIP will also abolish green taxes and levies and withdraw from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
[Score: Is there any point? They don’t specifically mention avoiding a 2-degree temperature rise]
2.How does your party’s policy take into account the historical legacy of UK carbon emissions?
UKIP are quite big on legacy. They clearly state that “the deficit is a terrible legacy to leave our children and grandchildren”. They also press on the need to protect “the enduring legacy of the motor industry and our classic and historic vehicles”, they will even “end this discrimination against our historic legacy by removing VAT completely from repairs to listed buildings”, but we could not find any reference to Britain taking a lead on climate action stemming from the historical legacy of UK carbon emissions
3.How does your party’s policy reflect the leadership required to catalyse an agreement at the UN FCCC negotiations in Paris 2015?
[Score: Where is Paris again? The thought of these policies being brought to international climate change negotiations is the stuff of nightmares.]
4.Does your party’s climate policy recognise that there are already more fossil fuels on the books of the big energy companies that we can safely burn – so adding more simply makes the problem worse?
UKIP supports an energy market including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar, conventional gas and oil. Like the Conservatives, their big development area is in shale gas. They are also planning to rejuvenate coal.
[Score: Absolutely dreadful]
5.How does your party’s policy rise to the challenge of achieving ‘net-zero’ emissions, as outlined in the IPCC’s 5th assessment report, and set a clear decarbonisation timeline for the UK?
I am sure you have guessed by now that it’s not in there. But there is commitment to investment in coal, they tell us it’s time to get fracking and they will repeal the Climate Change Act.
6.How does your climate policy recognise the massive renewable resources available in and around the UK, and the potential for jobs and economic returns in harvesting them?
There will be no new programmes to support expansion of wind power, despite Britain’s massive and constantly renewed resource.
[Score: depressingly bad – wind energy has a huge potential to create new green jobs and reduce carbon emissions as well as providing energy]
Analysis: UKIP present policies as if climate change didn’t exist, but do not offer any new evidence or even engage in a dialogue about the science they have based these policies on. Any hint of UKIP ’s environmental policies being allowed to hold sway in the next government would be a disaster for UK action on climate change. Their policies have no basis in the scientific evidence and if pursued would exacerbate global temperature rise well beyond 2 degrees.